Posts Written by

An Effective Response to Street Harassment?

I have always found feministing’s posts on street/subway/internet harassment to be pretty fascinating. Of course it’s something I’d experienced for a long time, but I’d never thought overly much about the implications or the scale of it before reading feministing.
I’d tried different approaches to handling it, on my own. I’ve tried the “ignore it” approach, the “flip the bird” approach, the “smile and move on” approach (especially if the comment was not overly rude). The first one often tends to end with the guy persisting, or else tossing an insult. With the second one, most often they ignore it, sometimes they seem a bit stunned or offended. I don’t know that it’s ever done much to change their minds, though.
The smiling approach usually seems to get me off the hook, but then I wind up feeling subjugated and slightly annoyed.
Anyway, I think reading feministing had helped me frame the argument in my own mind for why street harassment, even of the less-threatening kind, is a problem. So I was walking down the street today during my lunchbreak, and this guy behind me (who couldn’t even see my face) did the whole “smile for me” thing. “Smile, baby. Hey beautiful, smile.” (I keep walking) “Hey why won’t you smile for me, it’s a beautiful day?” So then I stop… turn around… and replied quickly in a slightly annoyed voice ...